Remington Arms is requesting records of the five children and four educators killed in the Sandy Hook shootings.
The company’s lawyers have subpoenaed the academic, attendance, and disciplinary records of the children, along with the employment files of the educators. In response, the victims’ families of the Sandy Hook tragedy have asked the courts to seal their confidential records. The families have been in a near-decade legal battle against the now-bankrupt Remington Arms for wrongful death, claiming that the gun manufacturer was reckless with their marketing for the Bushmaster, an assault-style AR-15 rifle used in the shooting. The crass request is the latest affront against the Newton, CT, families.
Why does Remington Arms want these records?
“We have no explanation for why Remington subpoenaed the Newtown Public School District to obtain the kindergarten and first-grade academic, attendance and disciplinary records of these five school children,” the families’ lead attorney Josh Koskoff told Vice Motherboard after filing a motion to change the protection order of his clients’ records. “The records cannot possibly excuse Remington’s egregious marketing conduct, or be of any assistance in estimating the catastrophic damages in this case. The only relevant part of their attendance records is that they were at their desks on December 14, 2012.”
Ostensibly, Remington Arms wants these records to defend their case, a harrowing thought in itself. Some are viewing the move as a threatening tactic meant to put even more pressure on families who have already suffered not only massive lost, but have hordes of online conspiracy theorists claiming the shooting never happened.
In July, the now-dissolved Remington Arms offered a $33 million settlement to the families. The plaintiffs have yet to respond to the offer. “There is not going to be anything in a school record that is going to have a meaningful effect. It really feels like a tactic with the company saying ‘Look, you don’t want to settle? We’re going to do this kind of discovery.’ It’s just unnecessary, probably,” David Golub, a veteran Stamford attorney, told CT Post.
“The traditional allegation in wrongful-death cases is that you destroyed one’s ability to enjoy life,” Golub said. “A defendant is allowed to, say, look at the educators’ work records, but with school kids, it’s stupid. Remington made these very public offers of compromise. They are trading signals back and forth. This is not discovery,” Golub continued.
So what we have is a massive gun manufacturer — or rather, a former massive gun manufacturer that has been taken over by several insurance companies and avoided any real fallout through bankruptcy — using bullying tactics to get the victims of one of the deadliest mass shootings to shut up.